'Lush' Is Not Always About Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
A ruddy great boned shoulder of lamb was surplus to requirements over Christmas and ended up frozen in two slabs. Last weekend, following a chance reminder on Twitter, I decided against the idea of a South African approach, defrosted one portion and went for this bloke’s recipe:
Tom is currently not so physically large after a bit of dieting but his flavours remain as big and insistent as ever. As usual, read my words for further encouragement and then go straight to your butcher, put a copy of the recipe on a kitchen surface and get prepping.
I peeled some garlic cloves and halved them to make slit-stuffing wedges. A teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder made up the standard chicken stock cube to 600 ml. I’d run out of home-made stock for the potatoes… gah!
The simple, raw ingredients were already making it obvious that this Sunday would be one to remember.
Lamb is my wife’s favourite meat and I know if it’s making an appearance that mint sauce also has to be on the menu for her. I muck about with various amounts of chopped mint, balsamic or wine vinegars and sugars. Hey, try Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar and cover all bases at once!
So, here’s my mix of mandaTORY sauce… a LABOUR of love for the one I will always love… ready for LIBERAL use. There - I believe I have DEMOCRATically included the major parties in time for the forthcoming elections… phew!
I’m pretty sure that any wine recommendations would include a drop of Spanish red. The one in picture was on offer at Sainsbury’s and certainly did the job. Crianza, maybe, but still with enough mellowed fruit to give cheeky competition to more aged relatives. I really should investigate ways of taking a fee for this blatant product placement!
Once the lamb and potatoes were in the oven, I gave thought to accompanying vegetables. We still have clumps of baby leeks among the full grown and I pulled and trimmed one of these. Blanched in boiling water for five minutes, they were drained and sprinkled with parmesan. They are ready to have a fifteen minute oven bake just before serving.
Carrots and parsnips were cut into careless chunks, seasoned and drizzled with a light olive oil. They go in during the last hour of cooking and need only a couple of tosses or turns to reassure them that they aren’t being neglected.
Turning the oven up to 200 degrees while the meat was resting left us with really delicious chewy, caramelised vegetable ‘toffees’.
The potatoes are introduced to the stock early on. As cooking progresses they enjoy the unexpected but inevitable delight of soaking up the fatty juices of the lamb as well. I guess you could eat the spuds alone. There is so much richness here from humble ingredients.
The beauty of slow roasting is that it leaves you with a bit of time on your hands. No walk, church or pub for me… instead, I painted the hall ceiling and glossed the stair woodwork. I managed one traditional task and made a serious start on the Sunday crossword.
At the allotted times all comes together. The lamb rested while carrots, parsnips and leeks had their final blast. The Kerridge connection ensures that you end up with food oozing glistening goodness. I carved the lamb into offensively thick slices but you could just as well go for the ‘tear and share’ option.
What a smashing way to slip out of the weekend. This is life-enhancing stuff for months with shorter hours of daylight. Which means that I need to gather a larger set of diners soon. A full shoulder cooked on the bones is just screaming to be given the same treatment for family and friends before the clocks are put forward.
Grateful thanks must go to Tom Kerridge, Graham, my butcher, and to one much respected sheep.
“Lush”? Oh, yes… but you will struggle to mumble words of even one syllable once you have cooked this glorious dish!